PEORIA -- So what does $10 million in cuts to the city of Peoria's budget look like?
It's 33 firefighters and three fire trucks.
It's at least 10 police officers being laid off and 18 vacant positions eliminated.
It's the elimination of 18 part-time summer jobs in the city's public works and community development programs.
And it's the borrowing of some $20 million to help fill a massive budget hole caused by the coronavirus pandemic that shuttered stores, restaurants and bars. Sales tax, hotel taxes, motor fuel taxes have all plummeted.
But it’s important to note these are just recommendations from City Hall staff who were told by the City Council on May 12 to find ways to cut $10 million from the budget. The council will take up the recommendations at their meeting Tuesday night, which will be held remotely.
Residents can watch the meeting either through the city’s website or through the city’s YouTube channel.
For almost two months, City Manager Patrick Urich and the council have discussed countless ways to trim the $50 million shortfall in the budget caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Already the council has opted to hold off on up to $26 million in capital projects and is hoping to save about $10 million by restructuring its existing debt. The remain hole will come from cutting costs and borrowing money.
The position reductions include 37 vacant positions across the organization and 57 positions that would be reduced by layoff.
At earlier meetings, the cuts Urich and his staff proposed were hinted at and council members balked, saying they were too deep.
Cuts, Urich said, would be phased in over the year. Non public-safety cuts would begin on July 1 while cuts for the police and fire departments would begin on Oct 1.
When assessing the possible impact, city staff told council members in their packet that the cuts would mean "response times will increase fire services, snow routes will be longer and more time will be needed to complete plowing operations, law enforcement will be focused on maintaining patrol services, community development will have less staff for neighborhoods, and back office operations will be reduced."
The borrowed $20 million would need a revenue source and that could come in the way of a new fee or tax that could cost property owners $33.33 for everyone $100,000 of assessed valuation.
The council has been hoping for help from the federal government and from Springfield. So far, a fourth COVID-19 stimulus bill appears to held up as the partisan politics appears to have taken center stage.
On the state level, Urich said the General Assembly, in their budget which was approval this weekend, cut the amount of money that would be distributed to cities down to $250 million down some $500 million from the initial allotment under the federal CARES Act.
Otherwise, it’s a mixed bag. There is "significant money" in the state budget for capital projects within the city and Peoria County. And the General Assembly voted to increase the amount of money the city gets from individual income taxes, which means an additional $500,000, Urich said.
But the same body also cut the amount that Peoria gets from corporate taxes and other revenue streams, Urich said.